Guidelines for Writing Referrals

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The standard referral form is a tool that is in our contractual agreement. Furthermore, it is a legal document that records an event. This official record is useful to have sometimes. There are certain ways to use it properly. Over the years many of us have had to clarify items in a referral to administration. Here are two of the most common issues that staff asks stewards to investigate:
The first thing a steward looks for is what was written in the incident section. Many times staff is not specific enough about what has occurred.
·        Be thorough– write down exactly what happened, when, and in what sequence. Attach another piece of paper if needed
·        Be specific – include important details like (Mark said to me “I am going to kick your ass”)
·        Be timely – try to make time to write up the report as soon as you can and get it to appropriate principal. It may be best to leave a voice mail message to the appropriate principal about the incident as soon as possible, noting that a referral is on the way.
·        Avoid writing from personal rage or for revenge on a student.
            The second part that stewards check for when following up on a referral is what the teacher recommended as a consequence. If there is nothing specific written for a recommendation than there is no basis for a complaint.
·        Be specific – 5 day suspension
·        Be consistent – your recommendation should be in line with the student code of conduct. In fact, it is helpful to cite the offense in the language of the policy (this was a class B offense – gambling)
·        When you write nothing, you give up your right to complain
Keep a copy of the referral and expect a response in a timely fashion. If you do not get a written reply with 2 days call the appropriate principal up to remind him/her that you are expecting a response. In addition, keep the responses to your referrals as you may wish to use progressive discipline for repeat offenders.
When to get a steward involved
1.      If you did not get a response and your requests for action are ignored.
2.      If you did not get a recommended action (or something reasonably close).
3.      If in your opinion your referral and subsequent questions about it did not receive the priority that it was entitled (for serious offenses).
4.      If you want help writing a referral.
5.      If you want someone to review a referral before turning it in an administrator.